AfDB Prioritizes Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change Impact

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Tunis, 22 September 2010 - “If not in Africa, where else? If not by the African Development Bank (AfDB), who else? If not now, when?” It was with this string of questions that the AfDB Compliance and Safeguards Division Manager, Anthony Nyong on Wednesday 22 September 2010, concluded his presentation on Bank efforts at hosting the Africa Green Fund to provide sustained resources to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change as well as support low carbon development in the Bank’s regional member countries.

The presentation, titled ‘The Africa Green Fund - Effectively Channelling Climate Change Finance in a Post-2012 Agreement’, was preceded  by another which specifically dealt with the “African Development Bank’s Response to Climate Change in Africa”, made by Ms Mafalda Duarte, Principal Climate Change Specialist. The two presentations made a strong case for the Bank to receive and manage resources allocated to Africa from all sources, including the fast-track financing and long-term pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord.

Mr. Nyong outlined AfDB’s comparative advantages in hosting the portion of the global funds allocated to Africa.  These include, among others, its track record in development and presence throughout Africa, a core understanding of Africa’s development needs, hence its ability to effectively integrate climate change considerations into all its projects and programs as well as the Bank’s in-depth experience in setting up and managing similar funds. These include the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF), the African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM), the African Water Facility (AWF), the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) or the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund  as well as the Bank’s experience in leveraging additional funds through the Clean Development Mechanism, the Global Environment Facility and through the issuance of clean energy bonds.

He further highlighted AfDB’s strong infrastructure portfolio in energy, water and transport sectors, demonstrating the Bank’s efforts to promote climate resilient development on the continent.  “The Bank has long positioned itself as a knowledge agent and has huge capacity to support African countries in addressing challenges posed by climate change. Consequently, the Bank’s hosting of Africa’s portion of resources will improve access for African countries, increase ownership and address issues aligned to Africa’s development,” Mr. Nyong emphasized.   

In her presentation, Ms. Duarte underscored the importance of the Bank’s ongoing and planned climate change activities and programmes as specified in its Climate Change Action Plan. She noted the Bank's capacity to rapidly respond to the continent's increasing demands for financing following the financial crisis in 2009 and the high rates of effectiveness in committing resources, in particular to the Low Income Countries.

“This, coupled with the Bank's involvement in not only designing and implementing climate financing instruments tailored to underserved markets and groups but also with  being an equal partner in executing larger climate change funds, clearly demonstrates the Bank's capacity to support its member countries in accessing future climate change financing, Ms Duarte observed. She also revealed that in 2009, the Bank’s loan portfolio increased to USD 8.4 billion which was 2.5 times higher than the pre-financial crisis Medium-Term Strategy projections.

Summing up the session, the AfDB President’s Special Adviser, Paatii Ofosu-Amah, assured participants at the Tunis Roundtable Consultation on the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing that since tackling climate change is a corporate priority of the AfDB for Africa’s development, the Bank, alongside its development partners, was fully prepared to address its impacts on the continent.

Mr. Ofosu-Amah, who chaired the session, described the Bank as a credible institution with an efficient and effective management. “We are a focused institution - concentrating on four core-operational areas including infrastructure, private sector development, governance and regional integration; and in all these areas, our operations are strategically geared to address climate change issues,” he concluded.